The NBA has a serious consistency issue when it comes to punishing players for unsportsmanlike conduct. Case in point: Draymond Green was suspended for Game 3 of the playoffs after receiving a flagrant-2 foul for stomping on King’s star Domantas Sabonis in Game 2. Yet, Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks managed to escape punishment for his flagrant-2 groin shot on Lakers’ star LeBron James during Game 3 of their first-round series.
What is particularly baffling about this inconsistency is that the league justified Green’s suspension not for the stomp itself, but for his history of unsportsmanlike acts. If this is the case, then why did Brooks, who is widely considered to be a dirty player and led the league with 18 technical fouls this season, not receive a suspension?
To make matters worse, Brooks had been taunting LeBron in the media all series ahead of Game 3, making his actions during the game even more suspect. Yet, despite all this, the league apparently did not feel it necessary to suspend him.
What’s even more frustrating is that the Green suspension, which many already saw as an overreaction, now looks even more unjustifiable in light of Brooks’ lack of punishment. Green’s stomp, while certainly not acceptable, did not seem worthy of a suspension on its own. But when compared to Brooks’ act, which was equally if not more egregious, it’s hard to understand the NBA’s decision-making process.
The league needs to take a hard look at its disciplinary system and ensure that it is being applied fairly and consistently across all players. It’s time to stop letting repeat offenders like Brooks off the hook and start holding all players to the same standards of sportsmanship and fair play.